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Can BT charge for calling a non answered mobile from a landline?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Phones & TV
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  • Ian011Ian011 Forumite
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    That is quite some claim and very different to long-accepted practice. Have you got a definitive link to where Ofcom said this?
  • SnowTigerSnowTiger Forumite
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    Buzby wrote: »
    Yes - you ARE charged irrespective of whether the distant party answers. The rules were changed a good few years ago to stop an anomaly of when you could signal someone by ringing (Say 3 rings) then ending the call before an answer. This previously meant calls were only billed when the home network received an answer/charge signal from call recipient. The caller used the network resources to set up the call, it was transported correctly and the distant network delivered it and it rang out, but nobody was getting paid.

    OFCOM agreed that instead of an answer/charge as the definitive charging point, it would be moved, so that as soon as the the originating network passed the call to the receiving network ‘the gateway’ this would be the charging point, NOT when the distant end answered. Calls handled wholly within the same network meant charging on answer happened as before, but with number portability, nobody can tell where the call will end up so they may or may not be a charge. Transparent s mud, eh!

    .

    Are you sure? I can't find anything to confirm that.

    BT, itself, says:
    What's a set-up fee?

    It's a one-off fee we charge once the call's connected and the pence per minute rate starts. For example, if a call takes five minutes, you'll pay the set-up fee plus five minutes at the pence-per-minute rate.

    And it isn't mentioned in BT's tariff guide.

    My thinking is that if this charging mechanism is in operation it's between networks and the charge, which is probably very small, is not passed on to customers.

    Rather like how ATM operators charge 20p for every cash withdrawal, but that cost is rarely passed on to the end customers.
  • unforeseenunforeseen Forumite
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    If you look on the BT community site then this was happening back in 2013 so not a new thing.

    ETA seems to happen with Plus net as well
  • brewerdavebrewerdave Forumite
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    Certainly has been happening for some time. When I looked at my late mother's BT bill for her, we found a number of charged calls she had made from her home phone to a granddaughter's mobile where they had been no answer - worked out as connection charge plus 1 minute per call.
  • BuzbyBuzby Forumite
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    Define ‘long accepted practice’? This happened back prior to 2004 when I noticed pricing differences due to calls that terminated without going through a telecoms gateway against those that did so is certainly not new. This also predated the nonsense of splitting the costs for consumers into a connection and service charge which whilst lauded as making things transparent, simply added to customer confusion.

    Similarly, in addition to mobile call increases for unanswered calls, BT were a primary driver when they provided external telcos with the lookup tables to successfully provide the actual destination number for 0800 Freefone numbers. When Mercury came along and were allocated 0500 for Freefone, it was said their charge to provide the lookup was higher than BT so things started to unravel.
  • SnowTigerSnowTiger Forumite
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    Buzby wrote: »
    Define ‘long accepted practice’? This happened back prior to 2004 when I noticed pricing differences due to calls that terminated without going through a telecoms gateway against those that did so is certainly not new. This also predated the nonsense of splitting the costs for consumers into a connection and service charge which whilst lauded as making things transparent, simply added to customer confusion.

    Similarly, in addition to mobile call increases for unanswered calls, BT were a primary driver when they provided external telcos with the lookup tables to successfully provide the actual destination number for 0800 Freefone numbers. When Mercury came along and were allocated 0500 for Freefone, it was said their charge to provide the lookup was higher than BT so things started to unravel.

    I see.

    Given your username and the amount of detail you posted I anticipated you'd post a URL, linking to charging details, as evident that BT charges for unanswered calls to mobiles.

    Instead, you post a nonsense ramble about some 'research' you carried out fifteen years ago in 2004.

    It appears that charges for calls to unanswered mobiles were dropped twenty years ago. From a BBC News article dated 15th December 1998:
    The practice of charging for unanswered calls on both networks will also stop. Oftel said if the other two major networks, Orange and One 2 One, follow suit it would save mobile phone users around £1bn a year.

    As for you comment about Mercury:
    In 1997, Mercury ceased to exist as a brand with its amalgamation into the operations of Cable & Wireless Communications, and totally exited from the telecommunications business by 1999.

    Whatever information you think you have seems to be fifteen to twenty years out of date.
  • edited 18 May 2019 at 3:21PM
    Ian011Ian011 Forumite
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    edited 18 May 2019 at 3:21PM
    Buzby wrote: »
    This also predated the nonsense of splitting the costs for consumers into a connection and service charge which whilst lauded as making things transparent, simply added to customer confusion.
    If you are talking about the splitting of call charges for calls to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers into an Access Charge and a Service Charge then this is not nonsense at all. For many years, providers of 084 and 087 numbers had claimed these were local rate or national rate calls where the call recipient could earn revenue while the caller didn't pay anything extra for the call. Like all things that sound too good to be true, it was a con - a con that sucked tens of thousands of businesses into adopting these numbers at the (vast) expense of consumers.

    Most people have an inclusive calls allowance and pay no additional charges to call ordinary landline or mobile numbers. This is made possible by the very low termination (a.k.a. wholesale) rates on these calls. The termination rate on calls to 084 and 087 number was, and still is, very much higher, and it is this additional revenue that allows the call recipient to receive a revenue share rake off. It is this higher rate that also prevents these calls being included in caller allowances.

    After a long delay, Ofcom eventually made the excellent decision to split the call cost into Access Charge and Service Charge so as to make these details abundantly clear to all parties. At the same time, other bodies (e.g. BIS, FCA, Cabinet Office) were formulating regulations or guidance to prevent expensive telephone numbers being used for customer service lines or by public services.

    Telecoms providers lobbied very hard that 084 and 087 numbers should be considered as "low rate" calls and for their use to be allowed to be continued. Ofcom's work on splitting the call charges into two parts along with the knowledge about inclusive call deals, exposed the detail that 084 and 087 numbers are not "low rate" calls at all, but are in fact a form of premium rate number - the additional Service Charge is the premium. Once this was established it paved the way for usage of 084 and 087 numbers to be banned for almost all purposes they had previously been used for.

    Now, a few years later, with much lower usage, usage that is still declining, Ofcom has started to consider scrapping both of these number ranges. This would not have been possible if the previous opaque "calls cost Xp per minute from a BT landline, other providers may charge more" nonsense had been allowed to continue.
  • BuzbyBuzby Forumite
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    SnowTiger wrote: »
    I see.

    Given your username and the amount of detail you posted I anticipated you'd post a URL, linking to charging details, as evident that BT charges for unanswered calls to mobiles.

    Whatever information you think you have seems to be fifteen to twenty years out of date.

    Oh please - it’s water off a duck’s back. The charging processes have not changed in the last 15 years and this was the issue - correcting this misconception that no answer = no cost to the caller. If you want a URL, look it up yourself. I have a physical copy contained within the BT Price List that explained charging commenced on handoff to the receiving network. (If not BT) The fact you wish to throw insults and start a flame war is fine - you’ll be in an empty room.

    You also confuse the issues - Mercury One2One used a timer, not C7 signalling to base when the call charge should commence. I recall it was 7 seconds, and nothing to do with transiting calls between networks. It was this that was deemed unfair and was dropped with good reason. A side issue, which BT took flak for - was when a caller from a payphone called a mobile (never a moneysaving process) the callers credit decremented as the call passed through the network gateway. Often folk missed that this was prior to voicemail answering, but it was galling when you got a recorded message saying the mobile was unavailable.

    As the OP was wondering why they were charged for an unanswered call - the response is correct, billing commences at the gateway, not on answer.
  • BuzbyBuzby Forumite
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    Ian011 wrote: »
    If you are talking about the splitting of call charges for calls to 084, 087, 09 and 118 numbers into an Access Charge and a Service Charge then this is not nonsense at all. For many years, providers of 084 and 087 numbers had claimed these were local rate or national rate calls where the call recipient could earn revenue while the caller didn't pay anything extra for the call. Like all things that sound too good to be true, it was a con - a con that sucked tens of thousands of businesses into adopting these numbers at the (vast) expense of consumers.
    .

    It is complete nonsense, because the consumer is no better off in understanding the cost in a simple way. Since every telco has its own rates, the caller will need his network price guide and go down to the 5th digit to discover the cost, of the connection, then factor in the per minute cost for the rest - Ah, but then charging is based on not when they answer, but on the gateway, and is it pro rata or rounded to the next minute? Possibly VAT extra too? Clear as mud. You criticised providers claiming calls were equal to a local or national call long after even BT dropped these delimiters ending charging by distance. A complaint to the ASA to outlaw such descriptions got absolutely nowhere as they said it was ‘generally accepted’ a useful indicator of costs.

    The networks too got on the act, saying that all calls to 01,02 and 03 were the same cost. No they weren’t! If the 01 code connected to the CI or IoM you paid more, NOT the 01 cost promised. Other exceptions meant 07 was split into multiple charge rates and the only time you knew the true cost was when the bill came in. In 2019, clairvoyance is still required and you have to ask if this is satisfactory after such a long time.

    Lastly, back when I had an ISDN 30 connection (1990) I fount I could programme my terminals to present any number I wished (now called ‘spoofing’) in those 30 years no network has done anything to prevent the C7 signalling being used to modify the presentation numbers displayed by Caller Display devices - it has always been open to abuse, and now is a major concern as small switching systems make this potential for fraud as easy as pressing a few keys.

    Having knowledge of some of OFTEL/OFCOM perverse decisions over the last 30 years makes you realise its mostly a mess, with reactive decisions often having to be unwound later - ‘premium’ rated phone calls being the star.
  • Ian011Ian011 Forumite
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    Buzby wrote: »
    It is complete nonsense, because the consumer is no better off in understanding the cost in a simple way. Since every telco has its own rates, the caller will need his network price guide and go down to the 5th digit to discover the cost, of the connection, then factor in the per minute cost for the rest - Ah, but then charging is based on not when they answer, but on the gateway, and is it pro rata or rounded to the next minute? Possibly VAT extra too? Clear as mud. You criticised providers claiming calls were equal to a local or national call long after even BT dropped these delimiters ending charging by distance. A complaint to the ASA to outlaw such descriptions got absolutely nowhere as they said it was ‘generally accepted’ a useful indicator of costs.

    The networks too got on the act, saying that all calls to 01,02 and 03 were the same cost. No they weren’t! If the 01 code connected to the CI or IoM you paid more, NOT the 01 cost promised. Other exceptions meant 07 was split into multiple charge rates and the only time you knew the true cost was when the bill came in. In 2019, clairvoyance is still required and you have to ask if this is satisfactory after such a long time.

    Lastly, back when I had an ISDN 30 connection (1990) I found I could programme my terminals to present any number I wished (now called ‘spoofing’) in those 30 years no network has done anything to prevent the C7 signalling being used to modify the presentation numbers displayed by Caller Display devices - it has always been open to abuse, and now is a major concern as small switching systems make this potential for fraud as easy as pressing a few keys.

    Having knowledge of some of OFTEL/OFCOM perverse decisions over the last 30 years makes you realise its mostly a mess, with reactive decisions often having to be unwound later - ‘premium’ rated phone calls being the star.
    You are conflating multiple issues. To stick to the single issue of 084 and 087 charges, callers who intend calling one of these numbers now need to know only the single per-minute rate Access Charge levied by the caller's phone provider, as detailed in their tariff guide, along with the per-call or per-minute Service Charge which MUST be shown alongside the number everywhere that the number is mentioned. The Service Charge is the same rate irrespective of which provider is used to make the call, you seem to be suggesting this is not the case. The only time anyone will need to look up the Service Charge is where the service provider has not stated the charge next to the number they are advertising - this failure can be reported to ASA. But, and this is the most important point, the splitting of these charges into the two parts made clear the premium rate nature of these numbers and paved the way for their use to be banned for customer service lines and public service service helplines. Anyone else with any sense has also dumped them. We now have the situation where hardly anyone ever calls these types of numbers, with the consequence that Ofcom is starting to think about completely removing these number ranges. And, that was the plan all along.
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